Geoff Cochrane

Subliminal Stuff


(read by James Brown)


Grandad smokes
De Reszke cigarettes;
my father’s brand is Capstan.

Horlicks prevents “night starvation”.


The pretty Hornby train of green and black
skitters around its loop,
soon exhausting its meagre repertoire.

I’m deeply ashamed
of my disappointment in it.


Sunday mass is followed
by roast lamb with mint sauce.

Tuned to 2YA or 2ZB,

we listen to the music
of Eric Coates and Mantovani.

Gordon’s gin has a boar’s head on the label.


1971. The Vietnam War continues.
This is also the year of Apollo 14
and Idi Amin’s appearance in the headlines.

I’m in love with Debby T___
and will be for some time.
Her effects include a Brother typewriter,
a little tin of Tiger Balm,
Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings
and The Unquiet Grave by Cyril Connolly.

I’m in love with Debbie, yes –
but also with the exquisite White Lady
known to laboratory assistants
as ethyl alcohol.


“(I)t is in our erotic life,” Adam Phillips teaches,
“that we return, so to speak, to idolatry. And our
erotic life – as psychoanalysis reveals in quite
unexpected ways – is intimately connected to our
acquisitive, materialistic life.”

My crappy Amcal calendar
recalls us to 2005.

Zig-Zag BiC Port Royal
Casio Canon SONY Panasonic
Picador Penguin ff Oxford
Cartia Flixotide Oxis

I didn’t grow up to be a great consumer,
but quite a number of brand names
lurk at the edges of my rooms,
remaining somehow latent or inert
for weeks and months on end.


Because I live alone,
my TV’s become a great friend.

“If Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be writing
for television.” Our fourth-form English teacher
told us that, as long ago as 1965.


John Weiners presents us with the following:

And I am lost beside the furs
and homburgs at Fifth and
Fifty-seventh where Black Starr
& Frost holds
its annual sale of diamonds.

For my part, I’m intrigued
by the brand name Rodd and Gunn
I’m sure it was invented
by some subtle ad man of yore,

A guy from the pages of John Cheever.
I like to think he Brylcreemed his hair
(“A little Dab’ll Do Ya”),
had half a novel in his bottom drawer,
would walk a mile for a Camel
and owned a vivid oil by André Derain.








































































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